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Senior graces Seventeen cover

Tori Roeck | Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lindsay Brown is living every girl’s dream.

This week, Seventeen Magazine announced Brown as the winner of their “Pretty Amazing” contest and revealed the cover of this month’s issue, featuring a glamour shot of the Notre Dame senior.

“It’s surreal. I can’t wrap my head around it,” Brown said. “Just thinking how many girls will see the story and the cover – they have 13 million readers, and that doesn’t even include follows on Facebook and Twitter and other social media platforms – it’s hard to grasp.”

The “Pretty Amazing” contest honors a “real girl” who has done something exceptional, and Brown said she was recognized for her charity work.

Brown said she has led cupcake bake sales for the organization She’s the First, which funds girls’ tuition in poor areas, and has started her own non-profit called the S.E.G.W.A.Y. Project, which uses soccer to empower girls abroad.

“All the other finalists were so amazing in their own way … but I think my story shows you how you can take whatever your passion is or whatever your talent is and turn it around to help other people and continue it after college,” Brown said.

Part of the $20,000 Brown received from winning the contest will go toward furthering her work, she said.

“We’re helping fund Kibera Girls’ Soccer Academy’s soccer program [in Kenya] for the year,” Brown said. “Over Christmas break, our plan right now is to go coach a girls’ soccer clinic there for about a week.”

Brown said the S.E.G.W.A.Y. project also sponsors girls’ soccer programs in Nepal and Cambodia, and Seventeen Magazine flew her from Cambodia to New York City this summer to participate in the photo shoot featured in this month’s issue.

The rest of the money will go toward Brown’s tuition, she said. A former member of the Notre Dame women’s soccer team, Brown said she lost her full scholarship when she decided to stop playing for the team.

“We’ve sent 50 girls to school with cupcake sales, and now it’s coming back around and helping me go to school,” she said.

Another perk of winning the “Pretty Amazing” contest is the opportunity to give important speeches on behalf of Seventeen Magazine, Brown said.

“October 11 is the United Nations’ Day of the Girl, so I’ll be speaking at various events there, and there’s a women’s empowerment project called 10×10 Documentary … and they’re working with the U.N. on this three-day event,” Brown said. “I’ll be working with them, and I’ll be in New York City presenting an award and giving a speech on my project.”

Brown said she is excited that her achievements will publicize Notre Dame because they reflect the education she has received at the University.

“I really don’t think this cupcake sale and campaign would have been as successful at another university because the Notre Dame community understands the value of helping others,” she said. “When I got to Notre Dame and saw the reality that girls still don’t go to school and it’s taboo for them to play soccer, I wasn’t ok with that. Notre Dame gave me the tools to do something about it and to change it.”

Brown said she found out she won the contest Tuesday when her former teammates, who helped launch the She’s the First bake sales, and the leprechaun surprised her at her job at the Career Center.

“It was cool because all of [my teammates] were with me at the beginning of this experience, and it was just insane seeing what it built up to,” she said. “To have them there [when I found out I won] was really special.”

Brown said she looks forward to sharing the good news of her win with the girls she works with in Nepal.

“I can’t wait to Skype with them and show them,” she said, “[but] the mail will take 3 weeks.”